Glide brings instant video messaging to mobile

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By Pete Davison Comments

IMG_2365Glide is a new iOS app from the company of the same name. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, with no additional in-app purchases.

Glide positions itself as “the Voxer of video” — in other words, it aims to offer push-to-talk functionality combined with the ability to broadcast live video and record video messages to be reviewed at a later date. Early impressions of the app seem to indicate that it does an excellent job at both of these tasks, with a few caveats.

At present, Glide requires a Facebook account to log in. The company says that in the near future sign-in will be possible with other services, but for now it is limited to Facebook. This is not an unreasonable requirement for a social app, but in certain territories — notably the U.K. — App Store reviewers have historically been rather resistant and critical towards apps which have Facebook as their sole option for creating an account and/or signing in.

Once into the app proper, Glide has a pleasingly simple interface that follows a lot of the popular conventions of the moment. A pop-out drawer on the left of the screen allows access to information about the app, links to the developers’ social media presences and the ability to contact them directly for support. Another pop-out drawer on the right allows access to the user’s friends list as well as the facility to create new groups and invite friends from Facebook to start using the app. The friends list indicates whether the users are online and whether they are currently broadcasting, watching a video message or typing.

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On the app’s main screen, message threads are organized chronologically with relative timestamps. Tapping on a message thread reveals it. Individual messages may then be played back, and the user may “broadcast” to the group at any time by tapping the camera button at the bottom of the screen. If group members are online at the same time, they may watch the user’s broadcast live; if not, it is recorded in the thread for later playback. All videos are stored online and streamed to group members’ devices, so an active Internet connection is required to play back messages. Tapping a button in the upper-right corner of the screen allows the user to add additional friends to a conversation and also to switch between the device’s front and rear cameras as desired. Meanwhile, a “T” button in the lower-left corner of the screen allows for quick text responses to messages that do not really warrant a full video message. The user is notified of these new text messages immediately via a popup message, even while watching other videos.

Glide is an extremely simple app, but this simplicity allows it to concentrate on doing one thing really well. It’s a good solution for sending quick and simple video messages back and forth between two or more people and provides a well-implemented, thoroughly modern means of communication. The only real issues with the app at this present time are the fact it only supports Facebook logins — a fact which is apparently being worked on — and the requirement for an Internet connection to view past video messages. The app positions the fact that all videos are stored “in the cloud” as a selling point, but it would perhaps benefit from the option to cache videos or save specific messages that the user would like to keep handy at all times, even when they do not have a reliable data connection.

These issues aside, however, Glide is a good app that has the potential to be a big hit with “social” types keen to find a new way to keep up with their friends. It remains to be seen whether or not it will resonate with the community at large — and its success will depend largely on getting people to actually sign up and use it — but at this early stage, it’s clear that it certainly has plenty of potential.

You can follow Glide’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.